- Current Release - Explanation
The current free release of Surf3D works with Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP and on the Macintosh using Virtual PC 5.3.
Surf3D can be enjoyed as a simple screensaver. It displays animated views of cyberspace that the Surf3D agent has traversed and discovered.
When you download the program, and install it as a screensaver, you can access the screensaver controls using the standard Windows Control Panel folder for the Display controls. Click on the screensaver tab, and select Surf3D. To immediately see Surf3D screensaver click on the Preview button.
To select a different agent to view in the screensaver mode, click on Settings, and click on the Select Module button. To see multiple views of the same agent in the screensaver, move the Randomize Timer slider to the right about 1/10th the way, click OK and click Preview to see the display. If you want the display to switch to different views more or less often, go back and set the Randomize slider further to the left or right, respectively.
To better understand what your screensaver views are showing, click on Caption Enable, which shows an abbreviated text explanation of the view you are seeing of the web data, each time it changes to a different view.
To get a very short explanation of each of the screensaver Settings controls, click on Help.
To know more about the Surf3D agent you have selected to view as a screensaver, click on Module Info.
If you want to use the Screensaver as a way to prevent unauthorized use or viewing of your computer desktop, click on Password Enable. Enter your password twice into the pop up box. When you return to your computer and press any key, a password box will pop up asking for your password before your desktop can be restored and the screensaver is stopped.
To better understand what your screensaver agent can do, click on Module Info, which displays details for the particular Agent you are viewing as a screensaver. If you wish to use the Agent on the web, select Edit Module, and that will open the Surf3D software development tool and runtime controls for your use.
When you click on Edit Module, a brief explanation page will appear that describes the Editor. When you click the OK button the editor will open. Note: if you have an Agent already open in the Surf3D Editor mode, the screensaver cannot operate.
You can have more than one Agent running at once. Each Agent opens its own Editor. The Editor is where you configure the operation of Surf3D Agent modules that are used by the screensaver. Using the editor you can load, edit, save, and run the modules directly on the web.
Alternatively, the editor may be run as a stand-alone application outside of the screensaver Settings by running the program NAV8.EXE which is located in the directory where the screensaver is installed, which by default is C:\programs\surf3d .
Screensaver Modules are Agents.
Modules that are run outside of the Editor will act as Agents. To access modules directly from the desktop (or other locations) create shortcuts and then drag or copy them to the desired location. Note: Surf3D modules use a .XO file extension.
Outside of the screensaver, multiple modules may be run simultaneously as Agents - limited only by resources and bandwidth.
You can open a particular agent suited to a particular web site.
With an agent newly opened, you should see a small icon tool-bar over a graphic window.
Rollover slowly on each toolbar icon to see the pop-out label name.
Click on the the 5 left most icons to toggle close or open the different Surf3D editor control panels.
*X* icon - Agent Window - search set up and textual runtime status display
*A* icon - HTML Report set up options
Slanted *N* icon - Network setting options
*Magnifying-Glass* icon - Agent start, capture, finish and actions preferences
*Three-Dots* icon - Graphic animation display control panels
Click the second icon group on the toolbar of 4 icons for start and stop actions only. These include:
*Right-Arrow* icon - START
*Double-Line* icon - PAUSE
*Square* icon - BREAK out of the agent run
*Curly-Right-Arrow* icon - CONTINUE the current run
IMPORTANT - if you have done an agent 'run' that has generated a graphical display and results, and you want to save them, don't click on the Right Arrow again until you have saved it, or only click on the Continue *Curly-arrow* icon.
To save an agent run, click on the *Disk* icon, and rename the agent if you want to keep a previous run result.
The third to the right icon group of 4 icons for load, save, and auto-generate an HTML report in your internet browser.
The *E* icon opens the browser to where you are pointed at or selected for highlight in the graphic display.
The *G* icon grabs the current URL in the top open browser window and the agent uses it as the start page and begins its online run immediately. If you dont wish to start the run immediately, use the GET URL button in the main agent search set-up control panel, selected by clicking on the *X* icon in the toolbar.
Look over the various pull-down menu options. There are more SAVE options available than the toolbar icons indicate, including, Save, Save-as, and Save-as-Empty.
Open the various windows for an agent you have loaded and note the various settings for search, network options, HTML report options, file capture options, and agent configuration start-up, text and file capture, and finish actions.
Explore changing the graphic animated display using it's control panel.
The Tracking checkbox will cause your POV to keep changing as different nodes are highlighted using the slider bar in the Cursor control window for example (left most control slider).
It is a complicated looking tool but you can make agents that open from a desktop doubleclick, run agents without the browser open, and open the browser with the collected results (in a new browser window if your browser is already open) when they are done.
The words used in the word-count metrics in the Agent Window search set-up window can beto be changed when you make your own searches.
Just about any site can have some kind of data mining agent customized for it.
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